Alcohol Abuse and the College Campus
College can and should be an exciting and enriching experience.
The first step toward protecting students from alcohol abuse while away at college is to investigate various
colleges stand on drinking and encourage students to choose those schools that focus more on academics, social
development and campus community safety.
Each year the consequences of college drinking are more significant, more destructive, and more costly than most
Americans realize. Fortunately, more and more colleges are adopting aggressive measures to conquer the problem of
alcohol abuse on the college campus.
Research has shown that of all substances that are use on college campuses, alcohol causes the most problems.
Studies show that 43% of all students report drinking in an unsafe manner at some point in their college career.
Twenty percent of student report drinking in a reckless manner often or on a regular basis.
It is important to understand that the consequences of this type of drinking are not confined only to the
students doing the drinking but the responsible students who do not drink or who drink legally and safely can
become victims as well.
Some examples are: Sixty percent of students have had study or sleep disturbed on a regular basis. Fifty four
percent have had to take care of a drunken fellow student.
Twenty percent have encountered unwanted sexual advances from drunken students. Nine percent of students have
been assaulted by a drunken student. Thirteen percent of students have been the victims of date rape at the hands
of a drunken student. Evidence suggests that the first six weeks of the school year are critical to a students
It is also during this time that many students initiate the habit of excessive drinking. Aside from the physical
harm this causes, it also inhibits the process of adapting to campus life.
Many students who do not return to college for the second year are students who drink excessively during their
first semester at college. The primary influence that can keep students from drinking excessively is the
Did You Know
For the alcoholic, quitting drinking is extremely difficult and something that
takes time, patience, and dedication. Recovery is not a task that can be entered into lightly or
without reservation. If you don't have access to an AA support group then you have 3 other
You can use self-help books where the alcoholic is taking responsibility for his
own health. This can work well because once the person knows of the problem it becomes easier to
By putting together
their own plan of action and choosing his own techniques, the alcoholic takes an active role
in the recovery process. The more common techniques include examining the individual’s need
for alcohol, decide whether to quit drinking altogether, or just to cut back, identify the
reasons for quitting drinking and sharing the recovery plan with others. These are just a few
steps that can be involved in self-recovery.
Another thing that someone with alcoholism can do to recover from it is to use a combination of
approaches. This could involve working on self-help issues, going to AA meetings and involving
other people in the process for support.
The benefit of this approach is that you can work on the issues behind the drinking
while at the same time developing some kind of accountability to others. Plus you would be able to
rely on support from people around you when you go through the tough times.
There are three ways a parent can influence a student in a way that can help keep him or her from college
1. Parents need to help their children choose the right college. This would include colleges with low rates of
alcohol related incidences as well as colleges with an emphasis toward alcohol education and campus safety.
2. Once the student goes off to college it is important for the parents to stay involved in their childs life
and to be aware of what they are doing and what they are going through.
3. If a parent thinks that their child may be in danger of having problems with alcohol they should seek
assistance immediately. Early intervention brings the best and most successful outcomes.
Drinking steadily and consistently over time can cause a physical dependence on alcohol as
well as withdrawal symptoms when going without alcohol for very long. Physical dependence will
not lead to alcoholism by itself.
There must first be issues involved that cause the person to abuse alcohol and to abuse
alcohol in an effort to deal with painful emotions and/or experiences. Many factors lead to
alcoholism and alcohol abuse.
These things are important to recognize when the alcoholic goes through recovery and quits
Any factors that can be removed or solved need to be addressed as part of the alcoholism
Parent and student education is key to keeping college campuses safe and keeping students from developing
alcohol addictions. In recent years, campus administrators have realized the importance of campus involvement
in the life of the student as well.
Working together it is possible to conquer the problem of excessive drinking on college campuses.